> I was in a rush to get in there because I knew how to recognize them. I knew where they were, so that I could try to recover some. They were brought out of the ashes, a real phoenix.>> But much of the vast collection is lost forever.
The 200 year old former imperial palace in Rio de Janeiro, was home to much loved but increasingly dilapidated and under funded archive. It housed paleontological finds, Egyptian artifacts and the oldest human fossil ever found in Brazil. The building caught fire, Sunday. Brazilian officials said, federal police were investigating the cause, saying it was likely due to an electrical short circuit.
Or possibly a homemade hot air balloon that could have landed on the roof. The museum lacked a sprinkler system. The commander of Rio's fire department said, the hydrants outside the building were dry when his team arrived, forcing him to use water from a nearby lake and bring in tanker trucks.
The museum's vice director told the TV station, a financing plan announced in June included a plan to install modern fire protection equipment. Brazil is in a deep recession. And public money for cultural projects has been drying up for years. On Monday, the nation's President Michel Temer, met with representatives from Brazil's business community to find ways to rebuild the museum as soon as possible.
He called the fire quote, and encalcuable loss for Brazil.